It is extremely rare that I go see a movie the very weekend it comes out. It's rare that I even go to the movies, but being a huge Beverly Cleary fan since my elementary school days, I could not wait to see Ramona and Beezus. Abby and I started reading Ramona the Pest a few weeks ago so when we first saw the preview for the movie, we were excited.
I had heard buzz over the years that producers had been trying to get movie rights for the books, but Mrs. Cleary wasn't quite ready for Ramona take that step. I'm not sure what changed her mind, but I'm glad that she did.
I absolutely LOVED it! The movie actually has bits and pieces of ALL of the Ramona books. Abby and I had fun pointing out the Q with cat ears and a tail on the Quimby's mailbox & Ramona's red rain boots - like in Ramona the Pest. There's the unforgettable scene when Ramona cracks the thought-to-be hard-boiled egg on her head (Ramona Quimby Age 8) or when Mr. Quimby loses his job & has an interest in art (Ramona and Her Father) or Ramona pulling one of Susan's irresistible boing-boing curls... It's amazing how these scenes come back to you - scenes that I imagined in my head as a little girl reading one Ramona book after another.
As a kid, I could see myself in Ramona. Slightly precocious, imaginative, and strong-willed - although my teachers didn't have to call home on a regular basis. Seeing Ramona's antics on the big screen brought back memories of my own childhood. Even though the movie was modernized a bit, with the exception of their names (It was a little hard to buy Josh Duhamel as Uncle Hobart), the stories are timeless. Their struggles, humor, and love for each other - the Quimbys could still be the family next door.
If you go to the World of Beverly Cleary, your kids can explore Klickitat Street and read some fun facts about Ramona, Beezus, Henry Huggins, and more . When I started reading Ramona the Pest to the kids, I showed them the site and they thought it was pretty cool.
It's also cool to be able to share this piece of my childhood with them, especially with Abby. She's at the age where she loves chapter books, and the Ramona books are so much fun to read with her.
At the dinner table tonight, she and I were both telling Noah and Dad all about the movie. I told them we should all go when it's at the dollar theater (I'd love to see it again), and I'm already counting down to its release on DVD. Luckily, in the meantime, we can finish Ramona the Pest and move on to another book in the series. I can't remember which book has the story of Aunt Bea and the locket - or maybe that was just part of the movie - but Abby loved that. I actually gave her a locket from my jewelry box when we got home from the movie so she could have one - just like Ramona.
Not that Beverly Cleary will ever read my blog, but I just want to send out a thank you to her for creating these characters and plots that everyday kids can relate to and identify with - stories that motivate kids to read and even give them the inspiration to write stories of their own. So thank you, Mrs. Cleary. As Ramona would say - you and your stories are "terrific-ul"!
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